Once upon a time, renewable energy was one of those oddities that existed on the fringe. Sure, every once in a while someone would talk about solar power, or that maybe someday wind turbines could be used to generate electricity. But as a rule, people would usually just take a deep breath and go away, and everyone would go back to burning fossil fuels, like all right-thinking folk, were supposed to.
Nowadays, though, there is the growing realization that there are limits to some of our old energy stand-bys. Now it seems that the idea of renewables is catching on and is even looked upon with approval.
So how does renewable energy impact the construction industry?
Let’s start with defining what we mean by “renewable energy.” Renewable energy is defined as an energy that replenishes itself at a rate equal to or exceeding the speed at which it’s consumed. Examples of renewable energy include solar power, wind power, tidal power, biomass, and geothermal.
Solar energy is a popular form of renewable energy
Innovations and advances in renewable energy make it more affordable, which means more people are turning to it.
According to “Renewable Energy and its Effect on the Construction Industry”, the United States brought as much solar energy online every three weeks than it did in all of 2008. Furthermore, twenty percent of the nation’s energy will come from wind power installations by 2030.
And that’s just taking solar and wind into consideration. Add the other forms of renewable energy to the equation, and you can see why it’s important for the construction industry to be able to handle this new challenge.
It also doesn’t hurt that there are tax incentives for homeowners to install renewable energy sources to their homes, solar panels for instance.
Energy-producing technology such as photovoltaic arrays (e.g. solar panels) can be installed on millions of existing rooftops. That means more specially trained construction professionals will be needed to retrofit the new technology onto older buildings, be they residential or commercial structures.
The same holds true for wind power, as turbines need to be installed in optimal locations, usually coordinating with solar power sources. That’s because while solar energy is more of a daytime thing (for obvious reasons), wind power works better at night. It will be essential to have professionals who can construct this kind of tandem arrangement to assure continuous power production.
There will be a long period where power customers are making the change from sources like fossil fuels to the renewable energy sources. That means both types of energy production will be co-existing, and that requires construction jobs to help everyone get through that period of change.
Furthermore, as more customers invest in decentralized energy systems for their homes and businesses, the construction industry will be called upon to help get this technology in place.
The construction industry stands to gain tremendously from the rise of renewable energy. As the reasons to put it off fall away one by one, construction professionals will be called on to help bring the technology online. It may be wise for future construction professionals to bring themselves up to speed on renewable energy technology. A boom is coming, and those who are best prepared for it will benefit the most.